Twitter barred RT and Sputnik from advertising on its platform on Thursday, prompting the broadcaster to reveal that during negotiations with the social media giant in 2016, Twitter was the one pushing it to spend millions on its social media-based election advertising platform. RT ended up declining the offer, spending just $274,000 in US Twitter ads in 2016, only a fraction of that going to election-related coverage.
Speaking to Sputnik Serbia, Zdravko Jankovic, an IT and internet marketing specialist and visiting lecturer at Belgrade's Singidunum University, joked that if RT found a way to "interfere" in the US election with such a small amount of money, they deserve a commendation of some kind.
"Based on my own experience, if someone can to influence the American elections with $274,000 in Twitter advertising (the amount RT spent), big kudos to them," the observer quipped. "Because factually, with this amount of money, one couldn't even influence an election in Novi Belgrade [a neighborhood of the Serbian capital]. It's just too small a sum of money to able to seriously affect anyone's choice," Jankovic stressed.
The Honest Ads Act, created by senators John McCain, Mark Warner and Amy Klobuchar, calls for foreigners to be barred from posting political ads on any major US media platform. The bill is currently making its rounds through the Senate.
As far as online advertising goes, Jankovic suggested that Twitter's management should be more concerned about their own decision than Sputnik or RT, since their company is still a less significant social network for targeted advertising than Facebook.